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Secretary Announces Refinancing Help for Rural USDA Home Loan Borrowers in Select States

Today, rural homeowners in 19 states across the nation are getting some much-needed and long-awaited help to cope with declining home values and a sluggish housing market.

Secretary Vilsack announced today a pilot program to help rural borrowers with loans made or guaranteed by USDA refinance their mortgages to reduce their monthly payments. This initiative is part of the president’s on- going efforts to help middle class families, create jobs, and strengthen the economy. Since the Obama Administration took office three years ago, Secretary Vilsack has worked closely with the White House to ensure that rural Americans continue to enjoy the many benefits of homeownership. Read more »

Eight Former Secretaries of Agriculture Speaking at 2012 Ag Outlook Forum

USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 23-24, will commemorate the 150th anniversary of USDA’s founding in 1862.  Secretary Tom Vilsack will moderate a panel of former Secretaries of Agriculture ─ Ed Schafer, Senator Mike Johanns, Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Mike Espy,  Clayton Yeutter, John Block, and Bob Bergland.  This unprecedented gathering of former Ag Secretaries will discuss the topic “Agriculture: Visions of the Future.”

To learn more and register for the Forum, please go to: http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum/

Don’t Just “Wing It!” Defeat Food Poisoning at Your Super Bowl Party with Food Safety Tips and a Bonus Recipe

Have plans for the big game? We all know this day is more than just football. It’s also the second largest day for food consumption in the U.S., next to Thanksgiving Day. Chips, wings, guacamole, chili—sounds like a good time right? It should be!

Don’t let this snack-filled day end in food poisoning. Food poisoning has lots of causes, including leaving food out too long. Here are some tips to ensure everyone enjoys the big game between the Giants and Patriots, and all the good food that comes with it! Read more »

US Forest Service Partners with World-Renowned Missoula Children’s Theatre for Performance in Maryland

Three Fort Washington area  students perform the song "Bugs Rock" from the musical "The Secret Garden" presented at Harmony Hall Regional Center. (Photo Credit: Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George's County)

Three Fort Washington area students perform the song "Bugs Rock" from the musical "The Secret Garden" presented at Harmony Hall Regional Center. (Photo Credit: Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George's County)

The Forest Service and Missoula Children’s Theatre partnered once again for a special performance of the play The Secret Garden recently at Harmony Hall Regional Center in Fort Washington, Md.

“The Missoula Children’s Theatre and Forest Service partnership is a natural fit because so many of our important initiatives encourage children to discover and understand the natural world while developing healthy lifestyles,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.  “I enjoyed watching this fun show and seeing our local kids learn about nature.” Read more »

For the Love of the Game… or at Least the Chicken Wings

Whether you are an avid football fan who can’t wait until kickoff or you’re part of the 40 percent going to a Super Bowl party just for the food, there’s a good chance you will be as close to chicken wings as the television on Sunday. In fact, the National Chicken Council estimates that Americans will consume nearly 1.25 billion wings during this year’s Super Bowl.

Until 1964, wings were mostly viewed as the less desirable part of the chicken and were mostly cooked in soups. That all changed when Teressa Bellisimo, co-owner of Buffalo, New York’s Anchor Bar, decided to deep-fry chicken wings and toss them with a buttered cayenne pepper sauce. The buffalo wing was born, and since then Americans have made this food a staple—especially during sporting events.

Read more »

Texas Agricultural Landowners Help the Environment and the Gulf of Mexico

Ford knows the importance of protecting the natural resources on his land through conservation, so he is able to continue ranching and is able to pass the land onto future generations. Cross fencing and pasture rotation are some of the tools Ford uses to help keep his land healthy.

Ford knows the importance of protecting the natural resources on his land through conservation, so he is able to continue ranching and is able to pass the land onto future generations. Cross fencing and pasture rotation are some of the tools Ford uses to help keep his land healthy.

For Texas rancher Dallas Ford and other Gulf Coast landowners, the Gulf of Mexico Initiative means an opportunity to make a positive difference not only on their lands, but also in the inland waters that flow into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf of Mexico Initiative (GoMI) is a new program of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and many partners. It is designed to help producers in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas improve water quality and ensure sustainable agriculture production. Read more »